They should try to identify the major issues in dispute. Sometimes when couples come to me, they’ve already agreed on several things, but they know the things that they don’t agree on. I can also help them, in the first mediation session, identify major issues that maybe they overlooked or didn’t even think about. The other thing is to have as much information about the assets, income, and those types of things prior to mediation. If they haven’t exchanged the necessary information with each other, then one of my first homework assignments will probably be for them to go back and gather their bank account statements, retirement account statements, credit card debt statements, W2s, income tax returns – those types of things so that we have all the information we need to mediate their case.
But over and above that, come in with an attitude that’s positive, open-minded, and is willing to make some compromises, and to really listen to what the needs are of the other party. That can be really difficult when you’re in a divorcing situation and you obviously have lost trust for the other person, but if you can empathize at all with what the other party needs, that’s the best way for couples divorcing to resolve their disputes.
Laura Schantz, a Beaverton divorce and family lawyer and mediator has helped clients find creative solutions to complex financial matters involving asset division, spousal support, and child support. To learn more about Laura Schantz and her firm, visit www.oregondivorceattorney.com.